St. Marys Fire Department shares life-saving fire prevention tips

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The St. Marys Fire Department is sharing safety tips following two tragic and preventable fires in the United States.

On January 5, 2022, a fire in Philadelphia killed 12 members of the same family, including 8 children. The fire was the result of a child playing with a lighter and igniting a Christmas tree. None of the six smoke alarms inside the two-story unit were working and some may have recently been removed. One alarm in a shared basement did work but activated late.

Less than a week later, 19 people perished in a fire in a New York City apartment building. The fire started when an old space heater tipped over. The door to the unit where the fire started was left open, allowing smoke to fill the hallway and staircases.

To prevent tragedies like these, the St. Marys Fire Department recommends that residents:

  • Keep all lighters and matches out of the reach of children.
  • Check their smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. Homeowners are required by law to have working smoke and CO alarms installed. Failing to do so can result in fines up to $100,000, a prison sentence, or both.
  • Make sure space heaters have a tip over feature. This feature will cause a space heater to shut off immediately when tipped over. Avoid using extension cords to power space heaters and turn them off when leaving the house. Review and follow the manufacturer’s instructions about placing space heaters away from walls.
  • Do not tamper with self-closing doors. Doors with self-closing devices are designed to close immediately after opening. Tampering with self-closing devices or wedging doors open is against the Ontario Fire Code - and very dangerous. The Fire Department has free stickers available to promote this message; please contact the Chief Fire Prevention Officer to order.

For more information, contact Brian Leverton, Chief Fire Prevention Officer at 519-284-1752 or


For media inquiries:
Brett O’Reilly, Corporate Communications Manager
519-284-2340, ext. 432 |